Ultimate guide to camping at the Grand Canyon

Camping at the Grand Canyon

the grand canyon

Whenever you decide to go camping at the Grand Canyon. It would be great to know that there are two types of camping that are permitted at the Grand Canyon. You can choose to camp in the good campgrounds where you can park your rv or camper. Or, you might opt for the backpacking or dispersed camping options. The backpacking or dispersed camping is located just outside the developed camping areas and requires a Backcountry Permit. You can find information on the Backcountry Permit here. This permit carries a cost of $10 per permit and an additional fee of $8 per night per person.

Why is the Grand canyon separated in North and South Rim

A 277 mile long (446 km) canyon separates the park into South and North Rims. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is a mile-deep, (1.6 km) and creates a barrier that bisects the park. Even though the average distance across the canyon is only 10 miles/ 16 km, be aware that it is a five-hour drive of 215 miles/ 346 km between the park's South Rim Village and the North Rim Village. Scenery, climate and vegetation are noticeably different between north and south rims because of differences in elevation. It is almost like having two parks in one and it takes time, planning and effort to be able to visit both sides of the Canyon in one trip.
  1. Mather Campground

  2. Location Havasupai St, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023.

    Mather campground

    The mather campground is located on the South Rim. This is the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon has a very beautiful landscape that attracts over 5 million people per year and it shows this off with the Mather Campground. This campground is actually the only campground within the Grand Canyon Village. You will have many options for fun with biking and hiking trails being just a few miles from the location. The Mather Campground is a place you can go to sit back and relax in the summertime as the temperature gets up into the 80s. So it is warm and not too hot.

    It has the following amenities available:
    • Recycling
    • Campfire Rings
    • Dump Station
    • Flush Toilets
    • Paved Sites
    • Picnic Tables
    • Trash Collection
    • Laundry Facilities
    • Drinking Water
    • Emergency Services
    • Shuttle Bus Service
    • Emergency Services
    Attractions Close By

    You will not be disappointed if you choose to stay at the Mather Campground. There are many different restaurants, shops, museums, and many visitor centers. If you want to have a wide view of the Grand Canyon then you can visit a place called Desert View. This is a perfect place for taking great pictures.

    Activities for you
    • Horse Camping
    • Wildlife Viewing
    • Camping
    • Photography
    • Biking
    • Swimming
    • Whitewater Paddling
    • Ranger Station

    Make the mather campground your next destination. You will not be disappointed.

  3. Bright Angel Campground

  4. Location: N Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023

    two separate camping sites at the Bright Angel Campground

    The Bright Angel Campground is located about half a mile to the north of the Colorado River. The campsite here either line the creek or sit on the base of the cliff walls. There is plenty of shade provided by the cooton trees that you will come to appreciate in the hot summers. The best way to get a great spot is to plan ahead by getting your permit early. You can however get permits by walking in to see what is available.

    You can mail postcards, play games, buy snacks, or buy a beer by traveling half a mile up the stream to the Phantom Ranch Canteen. For anyone who might need help getting in and out of the canyon, they can pay a small fee to have mules carry their gear. The Bright Angel has been used by many people over the years as a rest-stop whenever they go on long backpacking trips.

  5. North Rim Campground

  6. Location: North Rim, AZ 86052

    two separate camping sites at the Bright Angel Campground

    The North Rim Campground and North Rim Visitor Center are closed for the 2020 Season

    This campground offers 90 campsites at a cost of $18-$25 per night. Each group of visitors or individuals are only allowed to park a maximum of two vehicles on the campground at any given time. EAch site also allows up to 3 tents and 6 people per site. Campers have the option of hiking or biking in a communal setting right throughout the season. If you plan on taking this route, be sure to contact the kiosk office on the campground before arriving.

    The group rate is only $50/night and can accommodate up to 25 people and 3 vehicles at a time.

    P.S Be advised that any vehicle that tows another vehicle such as a pop-up, trailer, tent trailer, or any type of motor home pulling a vehicle will be considered as being two vehicles.

    North Rim Campground General Information

    • No hook-ups, however, you will have access to a dump station on the campground.
    • Water refill station available.
    • Offers both tent and RV camping
    • Restrooms available.
    • Your Pets are allowed, but must be on a leashed at all times. Do not leave your pets unattended.
    • Charcoal and wood fires are only permitted in the campsite grills provided.
    • Laundry and showers are located at entrance to campground and are all coin operated.

    To make reservations for this campground, visit Rec.Gov


    • Drinking Water
    • Convenience Store
    • Campfire Rings
    • Dump Station
    • Host
    • Parking
    • Pets Allowed
    • Picnic Tables
    • Grills
    • Picnic Table
    • Grills/Fire Ring
    • BBQ
    • Flush Toilets
    • Ranger Station
    • Fire Pit
    • Accessible Campsites

    Sites Available

    • Tent Only Nonelectric
    • Group Tent Only Area Nonelectric
    • Overnight
    • Standard Nonelectric

  7. Desert View Campground

  8. Location: Route 64, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

    Desert view campground views of a red car and trailer

    There is not much better ways for you to feel best'on the edge' of the South Rim other than by getting yourself a camping spot in the Desert View Grand Canyon Camping Area. The Desert View roadway offers a some of the best views known to man. Behind this grand canyon camping site is the well-known Desert View watchtower that was built in 1932 by the world prominent designer known as Mary Jane Coulter. You're in luck if you're checking out this campground in the summertime. Campers can discover different offerings of shade for its tent-only areas, in addition to water, toilets, a shop and basic facilities. No reservations can be made for this campground as the Desert View Campground is a first come, first serve campground.

    Reviews from TripAdivisor
    This is a walk up only campground, since we didn't want to be disappointed driving 4 hours we booked a site just outside GC. We checked it out the next morning and found a great spot. Running water, flush toilets (altho one back up and flooded the mens room), and walking distance to Desert View lookout. A (very expensive) store is close by. Using a National Parks senior pass and sites are half price (as they are at most national park campgrounds). Lots of stars, deer, elk and coyotes baying in the night. The campgrounds are small (less than 60 sites) but provided some degree of privacy. Drive thru sites are also available for RV camping. It's located very close to the east entrance to the Grand Canyon so you avoid all the lines getting in.
    — Gary B
  9. Indian Garden Grand Canyon (Backcountry)

  10. different views of the indian garden campground in the grand canyon backcountry

    When they hear about your experiences at Indian Garden Camping Site, your camping buddies will be put to shame. To get there, you need to trek about two-thirds (2/3) of the way into the Grand Canyon. You have to make this trek with all your equipment on hand. The canyon views make the journey rewarding-- the white, rose-colored, and rust-colored rock layers show evidence of millions of years of the earth's history. This produce the best background for your camping site.

    A seasonal creek goes through the camping site, and lush rich grass, willows and cottonwood trees line the banks. Drawn in by the creek, the Native Americans also lived here for countless years prior to backpackers and hikers that found this unique location. Found simply off the Intense Angel Path, mule trains and hikers now stop at the Indian Garden campground for water and shade breaks. In the evening, the foot traffic lowers by a lot, and you're left with a completely clear sky of stars in among the most remote locations worldwide.

    Every camping area has a shaded structure for everyone's pleasure, pack pole, picnic table, and storage cans for food.

    Reviews from TripAdivisor
    This is a remarkable green island of haven in the desert! It’s also the junction for the 2.4 km (one-way) trail to a Plateau Point (where the water was not working a few days ago, it being early season.) It did not seem well marked as some have said but we were coming up and so weren't tempted to take the wrong turn. It would be pretty evident if you did as it goes north at a pretty consistent elevation with minor ups and downs but your trail to the river trends gently downhill right away. Even though it was early season, there was quite a queue for water but it was cold and delicious and we found it, after the tortuous devils corkscrew, a delightful oasis of rest and hydration before the even more demanding switchbacks above on the way to Grand Canyon village. Two very large shade trees above the water source were diseased and needed to be cut down, I was sad to see. How I wish to someday spend a night here!
    — jesse o

Grand Canyon Entrance Fees

Just like numerous significant U.S. national parks, there is an entry fee. The existing expense is $35 for each vehicle on the South and North rims. The West Rim is unfortunately not a part of the National Parks Service. Different vharges will be applied if you decide to travel to the West area of the park.

There is a yearly Grand Canyon National Park pass that cost ($70). This pass is valid for for one year starting from the purchase date.

Backcountry Camping

Open All Year

To camp in the park in an area other than an developed camping site on the rim you should get an authorization from the Backcountry Information Center. This consists of Bright Angel Camping area at the Phantom Cattle Ranch. All camping sites in the Inner Canyon need a backcountry authorization permit. It is always best to apply for a permit before making your journey to the Backcountry. There are however a few lucky people who will be able to purchase a permit upon arrival. But i would not take the chance of traveling here without being sure i will be able to enter. There is a cost of $10 for each permit plus an extra charge of $8 per per person for each night.

Planning on hunting at any of these parks? The list below will guide in the right direction to which park allows hunting

Park Name Waterfowl Hunting Allowed Big Game and Upland Game Hunting Allowed
Anasazi State Park Museum No No
Antelope Island State Park No Big game only: Special permit required
Bear Lake State Park Yes Yes
Camp Floyd State Park Museum No No
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park Yes Yes
Dead Horse Point State Park Yes, below the canyon rim Yes, below the canyon rim
Deer Creek State Park Yes Yes
East Canyon State Park Yes Yes
Echo State Park Yes Yes
Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum No No
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park Yes Yes
Flight Park State Recreation Area No No
Fred Hayes State Park at Starvation Yes Yes
Fremont Indian State Park and Museum Yes Yes
Frontier Homestead State Park Museum No No
Goblin Valley State Park Yes, except south of East Wildhorse Road Yes, except south of East Wildhorse Road
Goosenecks State Park No No
Great Salt Lake State Park No No
Green River State Park and Golf Course No No
Gunlock State Park Yes Yes
Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail State Park No No
Huntington State Park Yes No
Hyrum Lake State Park Yes Yes
Jordanelle State Park Yes Yes
Jordan River Off-Highway Vehicle State Park No No
Kodachrome Basin State Park Yes Yes
Millsite State Park Yes No
Otter Creek State Park Yes No
Palisade State Park Yes Yes, but archery only for big game
Piute State Park Yes No
Quail Creek State Park Yes Yes
Red Fleet State Park Yes Yes
Rockport State Park Yes Yes
Sand Hollow State Park Yes No
Scofield State Park Yes Yes
Snow Canyon State Park No No
Steinaker State Park Yes Yes
Territorial Statehouse State Park Museum No No
This is the Place Heritage Park No No
Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum No No
Utah Lake State Park No No
Wasatch Mountain State Park Yes Yes
Willard Bay State Park Yes Yes
Yuba State Park Yes Yes

About Author:

image of Kevin Pommells

Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of CamperRules.com, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

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